Retired Permanent Secretary At Fashola’s Ministry Reacts To N2.5billion Contract Mismanagement Allegation

A retired Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar, has said he is innocent of allegations that he mismanaged the award of N2.5billion road contracts in 2017 and 2018 while working under the minister, Babatunde Fashola.

Bukar, in his reaction sent to SaharaReporters, said that contrary to the annual report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the accounts of the Federation of Nigeria for the year ended, December 31, 2018, which indicted him, he never awarded any contracts.

The retired permanent secretary noted that he never also procured 36 project monitoring vehicles, adding that they were not under his watch if they were ever procured.

He said, “I have never awarded a contract worth N2.5billion or worth any amount beyond my approval threshold as a Permanent Secretary. Specifically, the allegation that I awarded a contract for the emergency repairs of Tatabu bridge in Niger State in breach of Public Procurement Act, 2007 is fallacious.

“It may, nonetheless, be instructive to note that the award of an emergency contract does not require the approval of the Federal Executive Council as provided for in Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007. SaharaReporters can confirm this from the Bureau of Public Procurement.
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“That as a corollary to the foregoing, it is obvious that, since I never improperly awarded any such contract, I could not have, therefore, mismanaged any N2.5 billion road contracts as alleged; 

“That throughout my tenure as the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, I never procured 36 project monitoring vehicles. If such cars were ever procured, it was indeed not under my watch; 

“On the alleged recovery of N1 Billion Naira from the account of a Civil Servant by the EFCC, I wish to state without any reservation that the said Civil Servant is not me. I never had and did not have any such money in my account, and the EFCC has never invited me to account for any fund either before or after my retirement.
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“This fact can be easily verified in all the Ministries and extra-ministerial offices that I served. Finally, it might be useful to understand that audit queries, even if issued to a Permanent Secretary, are no indictments. It is when the queried Permanent Secretary fails to satisfactorily answer the queries that he or she may be assumed to have acted wrongly.”

SaharaReporters had on Friday reported that according to the annual report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, the former PS was asked to account for some monies in the ministry.

The report indicting Fashola’s former PS had partly read, “Issue one; Contract for the purchase of project monitoring vehicles without due process – N343,833,338.00. Section 24(1) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 states that “except as provided by this Act, all procurements of goods and works by all procuring entities shall be conducted by open competitive bidding. 

“Audit observed that the sum of N343,833,338 was paid for the purchase of 36 project monitoring vehicles without following due process. Furthermore, further examination revealed that the 36 cars were not received into the store as no documents showed such delivery.

“The Permanent Secretary is required to account for the sum of N343,833,338.00. Accordingly, all affected officials should be sanctioned in line with Financial Regulation 3106.”

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